Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Creative Ideas for Tree Stumps

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Creative Ideas for Tree Stumps

Article excerpt

The extreme drought of 2012 took its toll on many trees. Some died, and many more will succumb in the next few years. But the lack of rain clouds had a silver lining.

From sculptures to tree houses, many St. Louisans are finding new and interesting things to do with the stumps left behind from these fallen trees.

Tree trunk sculptures seem to be a growing trend among homeowners and savvy gardeners. Skilled chainsaw carvers are able to sculpt animals, totem poles and figures out of the left-behind wood.

Ryan Meyer, a first-grade teacher in the Festus R6 School District, has been carving tree stumps for 10 years. He's the owner of the Wood Den in Crystal City and has saved a few tree stumps from the 2012 drought. "Every year it gets busier," says Meyer. He did 40 carvings last year between May and September.

Stacey Robinson, 51, of Robinson Carving Co. in Montgomery City, has seen an increase in tree trunk carvings, too. "Many folks say they're losing a tree that is important to them, and they'll miss it when it's gone." A tree design is one way to salvage the memory.

"A lot of grown kids are purchasing tree carvings as gifts for their parents," adds Robinson.

Robinson has been carving for 25 years and his wife, Jo, has been doing it for seven. His two sons picked up the habit and now his daughter, Taylor, 20, is starting to get familiar with the saw. "It's just a matter of time, and she'll be carving, too," adds Robinson. He's done 16 tree arts already this year and has several more lined up.

Meyer can create a totem pole from a small cedar tree. In one day, he carved an eagle from an old stump in Spanish Lake. He cut two benches, a table, four stump stools, and a tree house table from one walnut log left in a customer's yard from a tree trimmer. It took him one day.

Meyer's artwork begins with a stump standing 8 to 12 feet tall. He carves black labs, deer, turkey, eagles, cardinals, raccoons, squirrels, dogs and even historical and religious figures. …

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